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Understanding iatrogenic effects for evidence-based policy: A review of crime and violence prevention programs

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Criminology Professor Brandon Welsh, doctoral student Alexis Yohros, and former doctoral student Stephen Zane (now an assistant professor at FSU) published an article called “Understanding iatrogenic effects for evidence-based policy: A review of crime and violence prevention programs” in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. The term iatrogenic describes illness or injury caused by an intervention. Welsh’s article explores why these interventions cause harm and makes the case that a body of knowledge on iatrogenic effects can play an important role in informing evidence-based policy.

The publication makes recommendations for future research, such as carrying out longer follow-up assessments of interventions with iatrogenic effects and investigating the role of theory failure and implementation failure as potential explanations. In the same way that immediate action is needed to end interventions that cause harm, using the knowledge base on iatrogenic effects has the potential to provide policymakers with an important tool to help avoid causing harm in the first instance.

In addition to its key policy implications, this publication demonstrates the continued scholarly productivity of doctoral students in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Northeastern’s students have ample opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research on pertinent topics of their choice.

Welsh’s article is a product of the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study, a delinquency prevention experiment embedded in a prospective longitudinal survey of the development of offending. Congratulations to the team for their publication and efforts to advance research that is central to policy recommendations.

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